Why the Super Bowl is the most important marketing date on the calendar

Why the Super Bowl is the most important marketing date on the calendar



Repost of our CEO Adam’s blog post earlier this week about the importance of the Super Bowl within the marketing calendar.

It’s an American sport. The only teams that compete are American. The sport is only played in America. And the importance of this sporting event is only really felt in America. So why is the Super Bowl the most important event on the global marketing calendar?

Every year, advertisers line up to show their wares in what is considered the most important sporting event in the US of A. Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 was the most-watched television event in American history with 111.3 million people tuning in. 3 million less tuned in last year but it was still the 3rd most watched television event. What does this mean? Advertisers have an active audience who make an appointment to view their products.

As you know, I believe television advertising increasingly has major flaws. The proliferation of media means its harder to stand out. Its also more expensive and less targeted. Not to mention there is serious wastage reaching out to less attentive audiences, casting a wide net and not always reeling in your consumer. As an awareness driver yes. As an influencer of propensity to purchase, less so. Frustratingly marketers have stopped evaluating the success of their TV campaigns in favour of scrutinising less costly more effective digital buys. They appear comfortable with their GRP and OTS metrics.

But this all changes at Super Bowl time. There is an active audience and the ad reels are considered every bit as important as the sporting event itself. This has driven a splurge of competition and creativity as advertisers work to make their message the one that everyone talks about at the water cooler the next day. Its not cheap mind, with advertisers paying up to $4m for a 30 second spot.

For me, Super Bowl is incredibly important as its the event that drives and justifies marketing integration, something we at Way To Blue have been calling for over many years. Its now no longer about the TV spot, its about the digital extension as content disperses wider than the box. Technically it is no longer a one channel TV spot. Its an omni channel content strategy leveraging social media, search, video and email platforms. Brands that deliver across multiple platforms will simply disperse their message wider and influence purchase decisions. If you’re going to spend $4m on buying TV space, you may as well invest $1m more in making that spend more effective for your message.

It is one week until Super Bowl XLVIII and so far 17 advertisers have already released Super Bowl ads or teasers (vs 13 at this stage last year). According to Mashable, these videos have been watched 17.5m times in total so far compared to 5.2m last year. Google searches for Super Bowl ads have doubled and Axe’s ‘Make Love, Not War’ ad has already amassed 3 million YouTube views and 100,000 shares. Given views increase significantly after the game, we are sure to be seeing record numbers this year. This year, I want to see better call to action, more multi-platform integration, better use of social and some mobile innovation would be nice.

Film wise, last year was disappointing from my perspective. There was a lack of integrated messaging and content wise, studios were primarily showing content that had already released to the market via in cinema trailering. The one exception was Fast and Furious 6 that took advantage of the hashtag #Fast6 and used the Super Bowl to showcase original content that hadn’t aired before. It’s no surprise that due to that, it was far and away the most effective film related TV spot. Here is our infographic from last year:

WTB_2013_InfographicThis year we will be looking at the impact of film and brand ads looking at buzz (volume of conversation) but cross checking that against propensity to view/purchase. The Super Bowl is a fantastic awareness driver and video views will be breaking records once again. Wouldn’t it be nice if they also influenced a purchase decision to justify the investment?